The newsLINK Group - About Hoarding

Editorial Library Category: Multi-Family & Property Management Topics: Hoarding Title: About Hoarding Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Some people are pack rats. That’s always been the case. But sometimes the problem with hoarding crosses a line and becomes so serious that it poses a health and safety issue for the person afflicted by it and for the community in which that person lives. Editorial: About Hoarding 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ thenewslinkgroup.com │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Some people are pack rats. That’s always been the case. But sometimes the problem with hoarding crosses a line and becomes so serious that it poses a health and safety issue for the person afflicted by it and for the community in which that person lives. Inevitably, there are times when the community is a rental community. Make no mistake: hoarding is a form of mental illness. It has been officially classified as just that by the American Psychiatric Association since May 2013. The website for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says mental health disorders in the U.S. are common and that they affect tens of millions of people. Of that number, experts think there are between 700,000 and 1.4 million people in the U.S. who specifically suffer from hoarding disorder. This disorder is characterized by decision avoidance about possessions. More interesting still, the presence of a hoarding disorder can be seen during a brain scan. The scan for someone with a hoarding disorder shows abnormal activation in the section of the brain that is (among other things) responsible for weighing the value of things. This part of the brain is the anterior cingulate cortex and insula. The anterior cingulate cortex, or Area 25, seems to be involved in three functions: detecting errors or shortfalls from a standard of some kind, anticipating and preparing for the completion of a specific task, and regulating emotions. The insula has only received attention recently. Although it’s a small part of the brain, it controls the powerful human emotions that people think about in terms of being both human and social. These can include a wide range of positive and negative emotions such as pride, humiliation, moral intuition, and empathy. It is also involved in hunger and craving, and may be a root cause behind why some people have a tough time giving up addictive behaviors such as smoking. The very real physical diagnosis of an actual condition is the reason why hoarders are becoming a protected class under the Fair Housing Act. This is true even though scientists have a long way to go before they understand exactly what is happening in the brains of those affected by it. If you think you can rent only to those who are completely free of any form of mental illness, good luck. There are too many people dealing with one condition or another for that to be at all practical, never mind the legal issues concerning discrimination. As a result, someday you will probably have to deal with at least one tenant who hoards. The best possible solution (and the kindest one) is not to dodge the problem. Instead, you need to figure out how you can deal with it in an effective way that won’t get you in trouble with your state’s fair housing rules. The earlier you realize there is a problem, the better your chances of being able to resolve the matter before it deteriorates even more. Recognizing Hoarding When someone comes to you and wants to rent from you, you probably won’t know that the person has a hoarding disorder in advance. The hoarding is something you will find out about later. You have two times when hoarding is likely to become obvious: While the tenant is living in your rental property. After the tenant moves out. If the tenant is living in your rental property, you might find out you have a problem when the following occurs: A tenant won’t let you inside the rental property at all. Professionals you’ve hired to do a job (such as bug extermination) can’t do it because there is too much stuff in the way. Your property has a problem with bug infestations or with rats and mice.

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